“Serendipity is to look for something,
but to find something else, and then realize that what you've found
is more suited to your needs
than what you thought you were looking for.”

This post belongs to a series,

"Crossing Borders"- Family Road Trip Costa Rica.

Our day permeated with adventure, between jungle river crocodiles and the crumbling ruins of an ancient church immortalized by Longfellow.

But now we continue our journey southward to Puerto Vallarta on Mexican Highway 200.

We haven't traveled far when, by some serendipitous act of fate, we're diverted (or drawn) to explore a small beach town called Chacala (see it here the Google Map of our trip).

Entering the village from the east, what first comes into view is a golden strip of sandy heaven that cradles a cerulean sea.

We can go no further. Coming to a halt, we exit the vehicle and walk trance-like toward hypnotic waves.

Momentarily disturbed by the mounds of moldering litter and refuse, the riotous result of 'Holy Week', it barely blemishes the ultimate beauty of this phenomena before us.

My biggest kid

Then the playing begins. Children run animatedly along the sand, chasing the waves that flee from the shore and splashing in the great blue drink.

My husband wholeheartedly dashes head first into the breakers, the biggest kid of us all.

Body boarding, sand castle construction and sun bathing envelope the afternoon.

It doesn't take long to be convinced to stay in Chacala for the night, we are none to eager to leave anytime soon.

Mar de Jade Resort

At the far end of the beach, away from town, nestled in the deep jungle green is a mustard yellow home which my husband discovers is the Mar de Jade, a Zen/Buddhist resort.

We wander that way to inquire after rooms - there's one available for one night only, due to a week long silent retreat that begins the following day.

Exploring the grounds and our newly rented room, the kids are eager to play in the cobalt blue pool.

Pool at Mar de Jade

Swimming and diving, we all make new friends with two young children and their parents who are traveling from New York.

"Are you here for the silent retreat tomorrow?" they question us.

Nearly drowned out by the din of our boisterous brood, I find their inquiry comical, but simply answer, "No."

"I thought it would be difficult for your family to participate in," was their response.

"Difficult? It would be impossible," we say with a smile.

Chicos Restaurante

Food is our motivation to head back 'into town', about a 1/2 football field away. We drive, because it's easier than carrying 3 or 4 small tired and hungry children in our arms.

En route, we pause for a moment to observe the residents playing a rowdy game of futbol.

Chicos restaurante is the first on our path, and it's seems as good as any. I'm caught off guard by the pens of roosters in the parking lot- is that dinner if we order chicken?

The best seat in the house

A typical beach side palapa, we're seated at a table that allows us to simultaneously kick off our flip flops and wriggle our toes in the sand while watching the sun slowly sink into the ocean horizon.

Palapas are the perfect 'kid friendly' restaurant. Restless toddlers waiting for their meal entertain themselves by building sandcastles or running down the beach.

It helps to pass the otherwise lengthy wait - as though they're catching and cleaning the fish, harvesting the coconuts and marinating our meal to culinary perfection, with a manner that mocks at the idiotic and unwholesome idea of 'fast food'.

Waiting for our meal

Incomparably fresh, indubitably authentic, it's the kind of fare that can't be photocopied in some 'Mexican restaurant' franchise back home.

Completely satiated, we amble back to our waiting beds and drift into a satisfying slumber, dreaming dreams of delightful serendipity.

The adventure continues:

(This post belongs to a series, "Crossing Borders"- Family Road Trip Costa Rica. )

What unexpected surprises have you found in your family travels?



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